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Poker Roulette

Contributed by Ross Dubery who describes it as a "spin of Russian roulette".

A minimum of three players is required (two can play but this is not recommended). Maximum of 5, else additional decks are required for every five players.

Each player is dealt one ‘stock’ card face down, which they may look at but do not show to the others. The dealer then deals each player two 'active' cards face down. The dealer deals a middle card face up and each player then flips his two active cards face up and tries to match either the suit or number of the middle card. Any of the player's cards that match (excluding Jokers) are then added to the stockpile of that player. All cards that do not match are placed in the discard pile.

The dealer than deals two more active cards to the players who matched at least one card. If a player could not match any cards, he is only dealt one active card for the next turn. The dealer deals a new middle card, the active cards are flipped and the matching process repeated. Before seeing his dealt card or the new middle card, a player who was entitled to be dealt only one card can add one of his stockpiled cards as a second active card - for example a Joker, which will then follow the Joker Rule - see below.

This continues with further deals until the deck is completely used up. If there are insufficient cards to give the required active cards to all players, the discard pile is shuffled and used once to fill in any gaps. The first part of the game is now over (and jokers may be removed from the stock-cards at this point). The players must now try and build the best five-card poker hand from the cards in their stockpile.

During this the players may also bet. This is a poker-style betting round with betting, raising, calling and folding. [In theory, players who have watched the cards should know roughly what the others can make, but Ross Dubery writes that in practice "even with a good memory people usually can't remember the cards placed (unless they have a freaky memory)".] Players with fewer than five stockpiled cards can take part in the betting if they wish.

Special card rules

Suits: Suit order must be determined at the start of game. Unlike normal poker, in this game suits are used to break ties between otherwise equal hands.

Card order High-Low: A, K, Q, J, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2

Pocket Rule: If both of a player's active cards (also known as "pocket cards") match the middle card numerically, then both the active cards and middle card may be added to the stock pile of the player.

Joker Rule: If one of a player's 'active' cards is a joker, then both of that player's 'active' cards are placed in stockpile.

Joker Middle Rule: If the middle card is a Joker and neither active card is a joker then both active cards are stockpiled.

Cancel Rule: If Two Jokers are present in any match up - either an active card and the middle card or both active cards are jokers - then both ‘Active’ cards are discarded.

Order of Hands High-Low

  • Royal Flush (10, J, Q, K, A of the same suit) (ties broken by suit)
  • Straight Flush (ties broken by suit)
  • Four of a kind *
  • Full house (three of a kind and pair)
  • Flush (5 cards of the same suit) (ties broken by suit if all cards equal)
  • Straight (5 card run) (ties broken by suit of highest card)
  • Three of a kind *
  • Two pair (ties broken by highest suit in higher pair) *
  • Pair (ties broken by highest suit in pair) *
  • Single (ties broken by suit of highest card) *

For example, if the suits are ranked from high to low SHDC:

  • Player A has S9-C9-D5-C5-DK
  • Player B has H9-D9-S5-H5-SK
  • Player A wins because of the spade 9 - highest suit in higher pair.

Hand types marked * can be made with fewer than five cards, but will lose ties - for example 9-9-7-7-2 beats 9-9-7-7 (four cards only) irrespective of suits.

Game-play examples

  • Player A has 3 cards in stock (7S, AC, AD) and 2 active cards (KC, KS)
  • Player B has 2 cards in stock (AH, 3C) and 2 active cards (Jk, KD)
  • Middle card is the other KH.
  • Player B will keep both his active cards as the joker allows him to keep them both.
  • Player A will keep both his active cards and the Middle card according to the Pocket Rule.
  • Player A has 3 cards in stock (7D, 2C, AS) and 2 active cards (Jk, KS)
  • Player B has 2 cards in stock (AC, 3C) and 2 active cards (Jk, Jk)
  • Middle card is a 7H.
  • Player B will lose both his active cards jokers cancel.
  • Player A will keep both his active cards as the joker allows him to keep them both.
  • Player A has 3 cards in stock (7D, 2C, AS) and 2 active cards (KD, KS)
  • Player B has 2 cards in stock (AC, 3C) and 2 active cards (Jk, 7H)
  • Middle card is a Jk.
  • Player B will lose both his active cards jokers cancel.
  • Player A will keep both his active cards as the joker allows him to keep them both.
  • Player A has 3 cards in stock (9D, 4C, KS) and 2 active cards (3D, 7S)
  • Player B has 2 cards in stock (AC, 3C) and 2 active cards (4S, 7H)
  • Middle card is a 8S.
  • Player B will keep the 7S and discard the 3D.
  • Player A will keep the 4S and discard the 7H.